Building Communication Theories: A Socio/Cultural Approach

Building Communication Theories: A Socio/Cultural Approach

Building Communication Theories: A Socio/Cultural Approach

Building Communication Theories: A Socio/Cultural Approach

Synopsis

Concern with various matters related to humans as they communicate has led to an increase in both research and theorizing during the second half of the 20th century. As a matter of fact, so many scholars and so many disciplines have become involved in this process that it is virtually impossible to understand and appreciate all that has been accomplished so far. This book focuses on one important aspect of human sense-making -- theory building -- and strives to clarify the thesis that theories do not develop in some sort of social, intellectual, or cultural vacuum. They are necessarily the products of specific times, insights, and mindsets. Theories dealing with the process of communication, or communicating, are tied to socio-cultural value systems and historic factors that influence individuals in ways often inadequately understood by those who use them. The process-orientation of this book inevitably leads to an emphasis on the perceptions of human beings. Thus, the focus shifts from the subject or area called "communication" to the act of communicating. Finally, this volume offers insight into how the process of human sense-making has evolved in those academic fields commonly identified as communication, rhetoric, speech communication or speech, within specific socio-cultural settings.

Excerpt

Concern with various matters related to humans as they communicate has led to an increase in both research and theorizing during the second half of the 20th Century. As a matter of fact, so many scholars and so many disciplines have become involved in this process that it is virtually impossible for any one of us to fully know, understand, and appreciate all that has been accomplished so far.

By bringing together a group of men and women who are not only highly recognized for a variety of professional achievements, but who also bring a deep concern for human beings and their struggles to this collection of essays, I feel that my own limitations as an individual scholar have been overcome. At the same time, in spite of the diverse insights of the various authors, this volume has a clear focus and is based on important assumptions.

It is very difficult to avoid confusion and duplication when we try to organize or describe the field of human communication studies. In the pages that follow no attempt was made to completely survey extant communication theories or to provide a comprehensive overview. Nor is this volume meant to address in great detail serious scholarly criticisms that have resulted from inadequate research methods or insufficiently developed theoretical foundations. What the reader will find are some insights into how the process of human sense-making has evolved in academic fields, which are commonly identified as communication, and speech communication or speech, within specific sociocultural settings. Thus you will notice that the authors endeavor to demonstrate the interdependence of all human efforts as we strive to understand our environment and all of our interactions. A strong emphasis on process, as we deal with humans engaged in communication . . .

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